Council welcomes solution to Manawatū Gorge replacement
16 March 2018
Council welcomes strategic solution to Manawatū Gorge replacement
Palmerston North City Council welcomes the resolution reached on a replacement for the Manawatū Gorge Road, which includes a commitment by central government to progressing the long-planned Regional Ring Road package of works.
The preferred option selected by NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) is Option 3 of the four shortlisted options, which runs from near the Te Apiti carpark western entry of the closed Manawatū Gorge, across the Ruahine Ranges north of the Gorge, before emerging at Woodville. Alongside this, NZTA has committed to advancing work on the Regional Ring Road, including a second bridge across the Manawatū River.
Mayor Grant Smith says that as well as delivering certainty and relief to road users affected by the closure of the existing closed Gorge road, the commitment to progressing the Regional Ring Road in parallel is a significant step forward for both this city and the entire region.
“The Regional Ring Road will connect key freight hubs and bring significant improvements to freight and passenger vehicle movements through the central North Island hub of Manawatū, improving travel times and lowering costs. This better positions the region to attract investment in logistics, manufacturing and processing, which is critical for the region’s future growth and prosperity.
“As well as unlocking regional economic development opportunities, the inclusion of a second bridge over the Manawatū River will assist in building the region’s resilience. For Palmerston North, it will provide a safer and more effective connection between some of the region’s key industrial areas, and remove heavy trucks from our city centre.
“We are delighted that our tenacity, along with the leadership of other Councils across the central North Island, in advocating the importance of the Regional Ring Road has led to this outcome as part of the overall Gorge solution,” says Mayor Smith.
The Detailed Business Case process for the Regional Ring Road will begin immediately, covering a ten year programme of work, targeted for completion at the same time as the replacement route for the Manawatū Gorge. This will ensure connectivity between the new SH3 Gorge route and the Regional Ring Road, optimising the investment.
“The extensive central and local government engagement that has contributed to the decision announced today reflects the impact of the new Government Policy Statement on Transport, which requires regional economic development considerations to be taken into account,” says Mayor Smith.